How can you get kids to eat their veg? It’s an age old parenting question.
‘Finish your peas.’ ‘No pudding until you’ve eaten your broccoli.’
12 top tips for cooking with your kids
Sound familiar? Chances are you either remember your parents saying this to you or you’ve said it to your own kids.
Of course not all kids are the same – there are some who reach for the beetroot and sweet potatoes first. Hey my two year old even eats gherkins. I know! Bizarre right?
My eldest child has refused to eat most fruit and veg since he was a toddler so I feel well qualified to talk on the subject of how to get kids to eat more veg.
Here are some simple tips for how to get kids to eat more vegetables without bribery, tears or threats.
Dips are a great way to serve veg and most kids love them.
For a double whammy serve veggie dippers such as peppers, carrot, cucumber or even baby corn alongside.
Even little kids can help with washing, peeling and even chopping. Kids are much more likely to want to try something that they’ve made themselves.
Blend them into sauces, make smoothies or try pancakes, breads or even cakes. The possibilities are endless. Check out my blog sneakyveg.com for more ideas
People say that it can take 15 times for a kid to accept a new food. That’s a lot of food waste but it’s true.
Keep on serving them up, let them see you eat them, take the pressure off and eventually they’ll get used to seeing them on their plate and will hopefully try them.
Make them delicious
Remember soggy, greyish cauliflower from school dinners? Cold peas? And the dreaded Brussels sprouts of course?
It’s hardly surprising that kids don’t want to eat veg like this.
Roast a cauliflower in the oven with fennel seeds, serve buttered peas with fresh mint, roast carrots with maple syrup and eat them with relish in front of your kids.
For some kids even touching a vegetable can be difficult. Let your child play with vegetables without any pressure to eat them.
Talk about how it feels and smells and let them taste if they want to. Or try some arts and crafts – anything that normalises fruit and veg.
I try to let my kids choose a meal each every week. My son is sure to choose pizza so we make our own.
Put out different toppings in bowls, include some favourites and don’t be surprised if your pizzas end up overloaded!
Take them to the greengrocers or the supermarket veg aisle and let them choose something new to try.
We recently bought this romanesco cauliflower and my five year old helped me to cook it and ate it for lunch. She’d never have tried if if she hadn’t been so invested in it’s journey to our table.
Grow your own
I’m not green-fingered but even I can manage to grow some tomatoes in a grow bag or a pot of cress on my window sill.
My children have loved growing their own veg – last summer we grew radishes – and yes they did try them. Result!
Many feeding experts recommend that you serve meals ‘family style’ – a dish (or dishes) are put on the table and everyone helps themselves to what they want.